George Gordon, commonly called Lord George Gordon, an English political agitator, born in London in December, 1750, died in Newgate prison, Nov. 1, 1793. He was the third son of Cosmo George, third duke of Gordon, and at a very early age entered the navy, from which he retired in 1772. He was remarkable for his personal attractions, his winning address, and happy facility of adapting himself to the tastes of all classes. In 1774 he entered parliament for the borough of Ludgershall. For a year or two he voted with the ministry, but in 1776 vehemently opposed them in a speech in which he alleged that an attempt had been made to bribe him. The ministry subsequently endeavored to persuade him to resign his seat in parliament and accept the place of vice admiral of Scotland; an offer which he resolutely declined. From this time he ceased to act with either whigs or tories, but spoke with so much effect upon the proceedings of either side, that it became a common remark that "there were three parties in parliament, the ministry, the opposition, and Lord George Gordon." In 1779 the proposition to procure from parliament an act for the relief of Scottish Roman Catholics, similar to Sir George Saville's act passed the previous year with reference to England and Ireland, caused an extraordinary excitement; and in November a society was organized in London under the name of the "Protestant Association," of which Gordon was elected president.

Early in 1780 he presented a petition praying for a repeal of Sir George Saville's act; but finding the government indifferent to the application, he convened a meeting of the association on the evening of May 29, and enjoined them to meet on the succeeding Friday (June 2) in St. George's fields and carry up their petition to parliament for the repeal of the act. On the day appointed a concourse of people, estimated at nearly 60,000, assembled in St. George's fields, and accompanied him to the houses of parliament, which they completely surrounded. The house having several times refused to take the petition into immediate consideration, Gordon addressed the mob from the top of the gallery stairs, naming the members who had spoken against the measure, and protesting that "there would be no help for the Scottish people till all the popish chapels were destroyed." At a late hour in the evening they proceeded to the chapels of the Sardinian and Bavarian legations, which they sacked. On Sunday, the 4th, they renewed their violence, and from the evening of that day until the morning of Thursday, the 8th, the city was almost entirely at their mercy.

The prisons were broken open, the public buildings attacked, the houses of Lord Mans-field and of many Roman Catholics pillaged and burned, and at one time on the 7th 36 fires were raging within the limits of London. On the evening of that day troops began to pour into the city from all sides, and on the next afternoon the famous "Gordon" or "no popery " riots were finally quelled, after more than 450 people had been killed and wounded by the military, exclusive of a number killed by accident. On the 9th Gordon was arrested on a charge of treason, and committed to the tower. His trial came on in February, 1781, and the prisoner, owing to his eloquent and skilful defence by Erskine and Kenyon, was acquitted on the ground that his intentions in assembling the people were not malicious or traitorous. In 1788 he was sentenced to several years' imprisonment, and to pay heavy fines, for having libelled the administration of criminal justice in England, and the queen of France. About this time he had become a proselyte to Judaism. He continued to send forth from his prison handbills and letters of an eccentric character, and petitioned the national assembly of France to procure his release, but without effect.

He died of a delirious fever, having been in all probability insane during the last ten or twelve years of his life.